My Guilty Pleasure
It is an honor to interview Richard Bard, author of Brainrush and Brainrush II on Characters Well Met. He is one of the most interesting and innovative authors around today. He has been compared to authors of high tech thrillers like Michael Crichton and Brad Thor . His novels are critically acclaimed and achieved a meteoric climb to hover in the top of the best seller rankings. His genre is a hybrid of action/ adventure combined with mystery/thriller and a hint of sci-fi. He has a legion of devoted fans. I have been a fan since reading an excerpt for Brainrush when we were both semi-finalists for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. I was hooked even back then and was glad to see him independently publish it shortly thereafter. Now he has earned a coveted three book deal with a publisher and even has representation. There are whispers around Hollywood and talk of a potential blockbuster movie franchise being bandied around.
I gave both novels 5 star reviews on Amazon and was not alone in my appraisal. I thoroughly enjoyed reading both and highly recommend them and eagerly await the next two sequels. I like the high octane non-stop action and the high tech infused unpredictable scenes. From the beginning the reader will find themselves drawn in and compelled to find out what is going to happen next. The cover should come with a warning label. May cause heart palpitations and might cause dizziness and raise blood pressure.
I found the characters are well drawn and interesting and are easy to be invested in. The MC, Jake Bronson, is affable and has a great sense of humor. I also like him for his love of family above all else, and that those close to him are worthy of personal sacrifice, and for his belief that life is precious. This might stem from his being diagnosed with a terminal illness while serving as a combat pilot for the Air Force. During a intense claustrophobic scene we find Jake in an MRI machine when an earthquake strikes. When he recovers he finds he now has astounding cognitive powers. He has telekinesis and can move things and control people with his mind. He also has telepathy and his brain is a sponge absorbing information like a super computer with a photographic memory. He has increased stamina, agility and strength. Unfortunately his illness is still in remission and he gets weak when forced to use his powers.
There is an evil mastermind terrorist, Luciano Battista, who is bent on destroying America and Jake is pitted against the mad man's unlimited resources and his vast organization. The action in both novels takes us on world wide trips from the beaches of sunny California to the gondolas in Venice Italy and the casinos of Monti Carlo, and the caves of Afghanistan to the rain forests of Venezuela. The scenes are extremely vivid and the author makes you feel like you are right there in the midst of the action.
There is a love interest when a beautiful psychologist comes into his life, Francesca, who also has cognitive abilities like Jake. Together they face impossible odds in life threatening situations in scene after scene of nail biting cliff hangers. There is also something malevolent in the two novels that will make lovers of sci-fi novels happy, when a humanity threatening plot curve arises and our MC has the only key to our salvation.
Now I have the pleasure to introduce the gifted story teller Richard Bard. He is an author's author, a literary rock star, and reading his books is a guilty pleasure. His life seems to imitate art as he himself was an Air Force Combat Pilot and is a cancer survivor just like his MC Jake. He doesn't have super powers, but he is a superb writer. He has a degree from Notre Dame, ran three successful security consulting companies, and has a reputation in the industry world wide. He has indeed traveled the world, and lived in Venice Italy while researching the novels. He also researched the "Rainman" like abilities of autism for the novels and has an interest in finding a cure. This may come from his love of a genius father struck down in his prime with Alzheimer's disease.
Reggie: Welcome, Richard. To get us started why don’t you tell us a little about your chosen genre and your book.
I’ve always been fascinated by people with extraordinary mental abilities. I heard about photographic memory and I thought, “Why can’t I do that?”
I was astounded to learn that there are a growing number of cases where ordinary people suffer a head injury and then immediately develop incredible mental abilities—like photographic memory, math skills, or artistic talents. Doesn’t that mean those “gifts” lie dormant in all of us just waiting to be unlocked? When I discovered that scientists are developing ways to tap into those abilities organically, the concept grabbed hold of my imagination. What would it be like to be “gifted” with the flip of a switch? And what would happen if the wrong people grabbed hold of that technology? Sounded like a great action-thriller to me. Brainrush was born.
Reggie: What is your inspiration?
I’ve been an avid reader and movie-goer most of my life. So stories have been my constant companion. The natural result was a very active imagination and a unique perspective on what works and what doesn’t, at least for me as a reader or viewer. When I create a story, I fashion it into something that I would personally enjoy. That means it better be a page turner.
Reggie: How would you describe what you’re writing right now using only five words?
More twists than a corkscrew.
Reggie: I love reading the warnings on the blurbs for many books. If you could write a warning label for yourself as a person or an author, what would it say?
Warning! Contents may be habit forming.
Reggie: Do you have any guilty pleasures?
Buttered popcorn and video games.
Reggie: Name one thing readers would be surprised to know about you.
I turned down an appointment to Air Force Academy in favor of a scholarship to the University of Notre Dame. Why? Because ND was within driving distance of my home—and I didn’t want to give up seeing my high school girlfriend on the weekends. PS. We broke up the week before school started.
Reggie: Do you have any writing rituals that you must do before you sit down to write?
Right now I’m sitting in my favorite coffee shop by the beach. It’s an eclectic spot with wall-to-wall bookshelves packed to the brim with books—all available on an honor basis. I do much of my writing here. Sometimes, one of the ‘regulars’ even saves my favorite table for me.
Reggie:What is the working title of your next book? What’s it about?
“Brainrush-III, Final Judgment”. It’s scheduled for release in June of 2013. While each book in the series is a “stand-alone”, the story carries on in each sequel. Without giving away any secrets, I can tell you that Book-3 sweeps from Venice, Italy, to Geneva, Switzerland, and finally to a remote island in the Banda Sea. Also, as in the first two books, autistic children play key roles in the story.
Reggie: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’m thrilled about my new relationship with Thomas & Mercer, the mystery & thriller imprint of Amazon Publishing. I signed a 3-Book deal with them for the Brainrush series. It would make sense to continue working with them on Book-4 of the series. On the agent front, I’m lucky to be represented by superstars. My literary agent is Scott Miller, EVP of Trident Media Group. My film agent Jon Cassir of Creative Artists Agency (CAA).
Reggie: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
It’s difficult to recommend specific titles since Brainrush crosses genres as both a mystery/thriller and action/adventure. However, many readers have said that my story-telling style is similar to Michael Crichton. I’m humbled by the comparison. He was always one of my favorites.
Reggie: You are a cancer survivor and today you are a best-selling author. What is your outlook about second chances?
When you learn that your days are numbered, everything changes. Things that seemed so important—like money or success—suddenly don’t matter anymore. Life becomes all about love, family, and forgiveness. But you don’t have to face death in order to embrace life. You simply have to decide to make a change, not just for your own sake, but for those around you. We all have second chances. Third, fourth and fifth chances, too. It’s never too late to live strong.
Reggie: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
If the opinion of other readers matters, here are a few quick facts that might convince you to download a free sample:
Publishers Weekly called it “A terrifically entertaining thriller”
“Brainrush, a Thriller” (Book One) was listed in the Wall Street Journal as the #1 Bestselling Action/Adventure in their "Readers Guide to Self-Published Big Sellers" (Dec 9, 2011). With over 600 reviews it has an average 4.5 Stars.
The sequel, "BRAINRUSH-II, The Enemy of My Enemy", was released in December of 2011 to rave reviews. Within a few weeks it became the #1 Top-Rated (best reviewed) Action/Adventure and the #2 Top-Rated Mystery/Thriller on Amazon. Nine months later—with over 320 reviews and an average 4.8 Stars—it still holds those spots (as of September 18, 2012).
Book pics and Buy links:
Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/BRAINRUSH-Enemy-Book-Two-ebook/dp/B006LSET8O
Short Author Bio:
About the author: In 1975, young Air Force pilot Richard Bard was diagnosed with cancer and learned that he had only a few months to live. Thirty-six years later he’s still going strong. He earned a management degree from the University of Notre Dame and after leaving the Air Force he ran three successful companies involving advanced security products and hi-tech displays used by US embassies and government facilities worldwide. He currently resides with his wonderful wife in Redondo Beach, California.
Backlist in the following format: (Title, publisher)
Brainrush, a Thriller (Richard Bard, publisher – To be republished Feb 2013 by Thomas & Mercer)
Coming soon list in the following format: (Title, publisher)
Brainrush-III, Final Judgment, Thomas & Mercer
Author Web Site http://www.richardbard.com
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorRichardBard
Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/BRAINRUSHthebook
Thanks for helping on this Richard. It is an honor to get to interview you and help get the word out so others can become fans of your work.
I will compose an introduction and also layer in my reviews on Amazon in the post.
Feel free to cut and paste this interview on your blog.
My pleasure, Reggie. I appreciate the support. Let me know when it goes live and I’ll post/tweet it too. Cheers!